Saturday, October 2, 2010

You Know You Are A Runner When.....

My friend Doug Welch has a twitter moniker of @reallynotarunnr. On a recent interview with Chris Russell of Run, Run Live, he explained that he would tell people that he was really not a runner. He had been overweight and won his firehouse challenge for the Biggest Loser and then decided to take on the challenge of a lifetime - run the Boston Marathon! He still keeps his Twitter moniker even though he really is a runner. This past week I was interviewed for an article in Woman's Day magazine. Now don't get all excited yet, the editor has to make her final decision of whether or not to include my odyssey in the article. I had sent in my pitch through Help A Reporter Out and the freelance writer had follow up questions for me. She told me that her editor was intrigued with the fact that I had run the Boston Marathon. How did I overcome the debilitating illness to train and run the Boston Marathon?! She said, "You mentioned in your pitch that you had never felt like an athlete none the less a runner. Do you feel like a runner now?"

This morning as my husband and I prepared to get out and run the Tufts 10K Course I said to him - you know you're a runner when you go out and run the race course a week before the race to get the feel of it. I had run Tufts two years ago; last year I thought my running career was over. I knew the course but I felt the need to just get out there and run it on this glorious Fall day - beautiful blue sky, sun glistening on the Charles River, a cool breeze and no humidity. Perfect running conditions. We started out a a slow pace out of necessity. There were throngs of people on Charles Street which is where the race begins. Once we got to the Longfellow Bridge I began my run. Tom power walked (he'll be doing his long run tomorrow) but kept me at a pretty good pace. i drank in the miracle of the moment. We finished 6.1 miles in 92 minutes - just a little over a 15 minute pace! It was awesome....

A year ago the symptoms of post polio and cervical spine disease flared. I accepted the possibility that I might not run again until I heard the announcer at the finish line of the Tufts 10K last year. I stood waiting for my daughter to cross the finish line and heard the announcer say, "Are you going to let anyone tell you you can't do something?" I knew God was speaking to me only back then I had no idea the miraculous recovery I would make yet again.

I am so grateful to Dr. El Abd and Catherine Barry at the Newton Wellesley Hospital Spine Center for giving me the tools to manage the pain. Trigger injection, outpatient physical therapy, a home exercise program and a cervical spine machine. I spent the winter doing strength training - core and cervical spine and using the recumbent bike for cardiovascular training. You have no idea how incredibly boring it is to do cardio training on a recumbent bike but I used an iPod, the television, reading - anything to distract me from the tedium of the bike indoors. I started running again and my triumphant return was at the New Charles River Run 5K.
It is the story of Forrest Gump who is able to break free of his leg brace; it is the story of Wilma Rudolph who overcame the challenge of polio to become an Olympic Champion, it is the story of hope and possibility that with perseverance and faith and being open to whomever God places in your path that miracles do happen. I am living proof!

So how do I know I am a runner? You know you are a runner when....
You run the race course a week before the race-I had never done this before. This is something that all of the elite athletes do to get their race strategy. I may not be able to run a 5 minute mile (or better) as Mollie Huddle has, but I sure do consider myself among the elite athletes.

A shopping spree means going to Marathon Sports to get new running shoes, bra and capris.

You have a bag of epsom salt and a jar of ginger by the bathtub.

Your closet has more schwag t shirts than street clothes and you prefer your race schwag shirts to designer clothes any day.

The only watch you own is a Polar which accompanies your heart monitor.

Your shoe wardrobe consists of the running shoes you wear for training runs and races, the worn out pair of running shoes you wear for walking and the running shoes you have in case you have to train in the rain.

You have to make sure that you always have Gel in the cabinet that has not yet expired.

Instead of destination vacations, you and your husband are looking for runcations - where can you go that will have a great race you can run.

You send in your application to L Street Running Club

Your circle of friends includes runners. You have bib numbers entered into your cell phone to get text alerts and cheer them on in their races. You check out your friends' status on Facebook to see race day photos. You follow their blogs to follow their running odyssey.

You visit Just Finish to report your workouts, training runs and to share your blog.

A well stocked bar means you have several flavors of gatorade on hand.

Someone says, "Hey you have a great tan...where have you been?" and you answer - I'm a runner.

To read more about my odyssey and feel the inspiration of a Boston Marathon run and so much more, visit

While you are there, purchase copies of my books of inspirational poetry. Remember I donate 20% to the Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation!

And be sure to click on the New World Greeting Cards link to see the samples of original poetry I can create just for you - all from the comfort of your own home!

God bless, be well and enjoy every moment.
With love from my heart to yours,

1 comment:

Melody said...

Great post Mary.. not only are you a runner, you are an inspiration to so many. Hope you see on race day on the 11th :)